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Lt. Gov. Abramson Will Not Run for Governor in 2015

Kentucky's Lieutnenant Governor will not see the state's highest office in 2015.

Jerry Abramson announced Tuesday that he will not be running for governor after saying earlier this year that he was considering a possible bid.

Abramson made the announcement during a pseech at the Elizabethtown Rotary Club in Hardin County. He said that instead, he will continue his work to raise the level of education attainment for all Kentuckians in his current position and in any future endeavors.

The former longtime Mayor of Louisville ran as the number-two on the ticket with Governor Steve Beshear in 2011, replacing Beshear's first-term Lieutenant Governor Daniel Mongiardo.

“Our generation will be judged by what we do to prepare the next generation of Kentuckians,” Abramson said. “We need people to help remove barriers to education, inspire possibilities and ensure that our children and grandchildren earn college degrees and technical certificates. We need more education warriors.

“That’s why the path forward in my own career, what I call the next chapter, has become increasingly clear. And I’ve decided that it’s time, at this stage in my life, to invest my time and my energy on what I’m most passionate about, education. That’s why I have decided that I’m not going to run for governor in 2015.”

Abramson said his decision is one he thought about, prayed over and talked about with family and his closest friends.

“My passion, where I can best help this state, is making life better for Kentucky’s next generation,” he said.

Since becoming lieutenant governor in 2011, Abramson has addressed more than 130 civic, business, economic development and education events around the state.

He launched several education initiatives during his twenty-one years as mayor of Kentucky's largest city, including the Louisville Education and Employment Program (LEEP) that paired mentors with more than 28,000 students at risk of dropping out to keep them in school. He was a co-founder of the Every 1 Reads program and created the Mayor’s Roundtable, a group of leaders who coalesced to raise educational attainment and create transformational change in Louisville. The 55,000 Degrees program, which is designed to dramatically expand the number of college graduates, evolved from the Mayor's Roundtable.

He also created the Close the Deal program to nurture a college-going culture in schools where, historically, few students went on to college.

As lieutenant governor, he expanded Close the Deal to the state level, bringing it to Bullitt, Campbell and Lawrence counties, with four more sites on the way this fall. He traveled around the state this summer as honorary chairman of a new community and technical college program called Career Craze and worked with the Council on Postsecondary Education and others on various efforts like transfer credits to make the move from high school to college more affordable and more seamless.

Abramson headed the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform early last year to reform the state’s tax code.

“If Kentucky wants to be competitive in the twenty-first century, we need to invest in our young people, more than we’re already doing,” he said. “That’s why I’ve been so involved in reforming the state’s tax code.”

He challenged Rotary members to help Kentucky’s future and its next generation.

“In my time remaining as lieutenant governor, I will continue to work closely with Gov. Steve Beshear to energize and empower our future workforce,” he said. “So as you leave here today, ask yourself, what can I do to make a positive difference in Kentucky’s future? What can I do to help the next generation?”

Parts of this report came from a news release on Abramson's behalf

Photo: Jerry Abramson